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Young people do care about their privacy, a new survey has found, contradicting the claims of Silicon Valley plutocrats.

Earlier this year Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg became the latest tech billionaire to proclaim the death of personal privacy, saying digital yoof are not concerned by it.

A poll of US 18 to 24-year-olds however found they do value privacy, but are naive about the risks and protections online, AFP reports.

"This lack of knowledge in a tempting environment, rather than a cavalier lack of concern regarding privacy, may be an important reason large numbers of [young people] engage with the digital world in a seemingly unconcerned manner," a report by the University of California said.

Researchers found older users were more aware of weaknesses in privacy laws, while the younger generation were confident they were protected.

But all ages of the 1,000 surveyed agreed they wanted more privacy, not less. Both young and middle-aged said executives at companies who abuse personal data should face jail, for example.

Which might give Mark Zuckerberg pause for thought.

His recent claim that sharing more and more online is "the social norm" echoed various similar assertions over the years by Silicon Valley chiefs who stood to gain from harvesting personal data. Sun's Scott McNealy's famous "you have zero privacy anyway, get over it" line launched the trend during the dotcom boom. ®

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